MGWCC #437

crossword 3:48 
meta -1 minute 


mgwcc437hello and welcome to episode #437 of matt gaffney’s weekly crossword contest, “Field of Vision”. for this week 2 puzzle, matt challenges us to identify a famous athlete. sounds good. what are the theme answers? for the second week in a row, we have an asymmetric grid with theme answers running down instead of across:

  • {What kind of athlete the meta answer is} BASEBALL PITCHER.
  • {Van Morrison’s signature song} BROWN-EYED GIRL.
  • {Genre for Hall & Oates or Rick Astley} BLUE-EYED SOUL. i don’t think i’d ever seen this term before until literally last week, when it was in a learned league quiz.

so we’re looking for a pitcher with one blue eye and one brown eye. this is one i happened to know despite fairly casual baseball fandom: washington nationals ace max scherzer. i don’t know if he is really a household name among people who don’t follow baseball, but he’s an excellent player, one of the best pitchers of this decade. last year, he pitched two no-hit, no-walk games (neither was a perfect game, due to a hit batter in one and an error in the other), and earlier this season he struck out 20 batters in a game, tied for the record. and his heterochromia is certainly a striking visual feature. here’s a photo taken from a nationals playoff game last week by crossword fiend’s resident nats fan, puzzlegirl:

max scherzer eyes

here’s lookin’ at you, kid

(if you’d never heard of him, as i imagine many of you hadn’t, this is pretty easily googleable.)

this week’s grid is only very slightly asymmetric, due to the different lengths of BLUE-EYED SOUL and BROWN-EYED GIRL. their placement in the grid, with the BLUE EYE on the left and the BROWN EYE on the right, matches up with what you see if you’re looking at scherzer, but of course it’s his own right eye that is blue and his left eye is brown.


  • {Company that becomes a demonym if you put a Q at its beginning} ATARI. that is a neat find.
  • {Follow-up question after “Right over there!”} “SEE IT?”. i like this clue! it is a creative alternative to the partial phrase fill-in-the-blank clue {“Now you ___, …”}.
  • {One of two U.S presidents born in Vermont (Arthur is the other)} COOLIDGE. solid presidential trivia. i did not know arthur was born in vermont.
  • {___ Defense (most common opening in tournament chess)} SICILIAN. that’s 1. e4 c5, although i’m not really sure i’m telling you anything. if you know how to read algebraic chess notation, you surely also know what the sicilian is. on a related note, my kids just watched the princess bride for the first time last week. i don’t know that anybody has ever gone in against a sicilian defense when death was on the line. it’s not impossible that this match started out as a sicilian, but i suppose we’ll never know.
  • {Mediterranean city whose name is from the Berber for “two lions”} ORAN. i did not know the etymology of that name. cool! it doesn’t seem long enough to mean “two lions”.

that’s all i’ve got this week. how’d you like this one?

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18 Responses to MGWCC #437

  1. sharkicicles says:

    {Soul Coughing song} BLUE-EYED DEVIL would have worked to maintain symmetry, but sometimes I feel like the only person who remembers that band.

    • Mutman says:

      You are.

    • Daniel Barkalow says:

      No, we are all, in some way or another, going to Reseda. On the other hand, I’d never have thought of Blue-eyed Devil, which falls into the category of “I’d listen to Soul Coughing recite their grocery list, but that might as well be what I just did.”

      • sharkicicles says:

        “I’d listen to Soul Coughing recite their grocery list, but that might as well be what I just did.”

        That’s probably the best explanation of Soul Coughing I’ve ever heard.

  2. Scott says:

    Never heard of him but still got it easily by Googleing. As I typed in the answer on my mobile, I made a spelling error. As I was correcting the error, I accidentally hit submit, leaving out a letter. Fortunately, Matt, in his near infinite wisdom, realized this and accepted my entry. Thanks Matt!

  3. Matthew G. says:

    I was at Scherzer’s no-hitter against the Mets on the penultimate day of the 2015 season (I’m a Yankees fan but was there with my Mets-fan brother). It was one of the top ten or so single-game pitching performances in the history of baseball — his game score of 104 was the second-highest of all time in a nine-inning game. Although an errant throw by an infielder kept it from being a perfect game, the sheer number of strikeouts made it a more dominant performance than most perfect games.

    • Matt Gaffney says:

      That’s cool. I had a premonition that he would throw a no-hitter against the Dodgers on Thursday night and on Friday I’d look like a genius. He took the no-hit into the fifth and I was really starting to get amped up, but then it fell apart quickly.

      445 right answers this week.

  4. Margaret says:

    Good to know I’m not the only one who immediately thought of The Princess Bride when I saw the words Sicilian defense…

  5. Norm says:

    Not a fan of metas that require most/many people to Google for the answer even after they’ve figured out what is needed. Lists of Oscars winners. McDonald’s menu. Et cetera. Now people with an interesting genetic trait. And, Matt, did you really have to give me an earworm with BROWN EYED GIRL? It’s still playing …. All that said, fun puzzle.

  6. Lee Sammons says:

    Why is this easily googleable? What do you put in google? I didn’t submit but thought of Blue Moon Odom. Blue, moon and Odom (anagrammed) are in the grid.

    • KZ Condor says:

      I searched for “pitcher with heterochromia” and the answer was at the top of the results.

      “Pitcher with two eyes different colors” also works.

      Maybe I’m in the minority but I like puzzles that require a little research to find the answer (as long as that answer is unambiguous). Drawing answers only from common knowledge seems way too restrictive.

    • joon says:

      yes. the puzzle tells you you’re looking for a pitcher, and then from “vision” in the title and -EYED repeated in the other two answers it becomes pretty clear what you should be looking for. googling baseball pitcher blue eye brown eye works just fine.

  7. Katie M. says:

    When I’m really stuck, I google all of the theme answers. Scherzer shows up on the first page when I google blue eyed soul baseball pitcher brown eyed girl.

    I don’t have a problem googling for answers on a meta. It’s like a treasure hunt, or a mystery – use whatever resources are available to find the answer.

  8. pannonica says:

    And Van Morrison himself, especially earlier in his career was considered an exemplar of “blue-eyed soul”.

  9. PuzzleGirl says:

    You spelled “Due to a jerk leaning into a pitch in the bottom of the 9th with two outs” wrong.

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